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Not being afraid of what others think of me



This morning, I was reflecting the past weekend’s Finding Freedom retreat with 8 curious souls, overlooking Long Island Sound. The sunrise. The cool of the sea wall under my legs. The sound of the birdlife, distinct in each ear. The gentle lap of the waves below my feet. The warmth of the sun on my left check as I looked to the right. The memory of the feeling as each person shared the day before, what they’d take home with them from the weekend. The memory of so may other moments. Including the memory of one discussion with one of the participants when I pushed her own curiosity by asking “How does that happen?”; awaiting her reply then asking again: “How does that happen?” Again, awaiting her reply then asking again: “How does that happen?” I don’t know how many times I asked that question back to her every answer. Her face showing signs of amusement, or confusion, or annoyance, or an expression that silently said: “Stop asking me the same freaking question!” Here's the point. I didn’t mind what she thought of me in my quest for her to look into that question. I only had one thing on my mind. For her to see that she’s wise. More wise than she gives herself credit for. Wise enough to not be “on her case” so much to “get life right”. That she, me, and everyone else is made to respond in real time to what occurs in our life. That things come to mind for us to do, when it’s time to do them. We are made that way. Period. Full stop.

Her seeing that was all I cared about. Not what she thought of me. Not what the group thought of me. Not… anything else. Noticing this matters to me. I want to be all-in on my Clients. 100% all in. That means having no concern over what they might think of me. Even if it’s annoyed, exasperated or frustrated at me. Their insights and realisations are the only thing I want to be in pursuit of. And how different this is for me. I’d been so concerned about what everyone would think of me, that I’d often feel paralysed. That feeling would play out into me doing nothing and saying nothing. I was too afraid. Yup – paralysed. All I wanted was for people to love, like and respect me. It drove so much of what I did, day to day. Whether it was buying love through kindness or generosity. Gaining approval by acting in a way that I’d be “liked”. Wanting to make people laugh, thinking that my humour was my best quality and the best way for people to want to be with me. It worked to some extent, there was evidence in my life to support it. And evidence in my life that I didn’t see, that contradicted it. I could come across as needy. Insincere. Shallow. Inauthentic. Betraying my insecurities. I had plenty. Buy me a coffee and I might talk about them. And I had the whole thing the wrong way around. The only person I was concerned about was me. The only person I was in service of was me. Seeing that was a part of the change. The other part was seeing through my illusions of who I thought I was. What made my insecurities seem real. And who I am before I think of me. Without the story of “the me” that I know I’ve made up. Now, more and more I notice the feeling of having my eyes looking outward. Into the world. Toward other people. Where I can have the impact I want in life. Willing to be disruptive. Willing to shake people’s thinking up to fall into truth. Willing to be a pain in the butt if that is what is needed. Willing to not be liked. Without giving in to my fears.


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